22 Jul 2011

Finding My True Self

I don’t know how it all started but I do have a faint idea that it was around the time I entered secondary school. Until then, I had always longed for opportunities to excel in extra-curricular activities. Debating in particular gave me an opportunity to enhance my knowledge beyond text-books.

Then, one day, I started finding it difficult to speak. The words came out with utmost difficulty or with involuntary repetitions and sometimes they just wouldn’t come. Passion became p..p..p..p..passion or sometimes it became just a long pause. In short, I developed an acute case of stuttering.

I began to find excuses not to read aloud in class. Each time a friend or a cousin made fun of my stammering, I grew diffident and insecure. However, my passion for singing was still unaffected by it. As you might know, stuttering is not an impediment to singing. However, with adolescence as my voice cracked, I was politely asked to leave the class choir too.

When I was chosen for a Hindi play because of my consistently good performance in the subject, I could not utter a single dialogue. Though I still participated in events like quizzing and dumb charades, I found myself shying away from limelight.

The two years in senior secondary school were spent studying hard for the engineering entrance examinations and somehow, the speech impediment took a back seat. But when college started, it came back to haunt me.

Reading a self-help book during my first year at college, I suddenly decided to throw it in the dustbin and take matters into my own hands. To get rid of the fear of public speaking, I had to seek occasions when it would be necessary for me to speak. Thus, Panache was born, the first students’ organization of my college. With it was born a new me, one who mustered the courage to stand in front of the class and give the presentation regarding the proposed organization.

As I pushed myself more and more, I was able to devise new ways to tackle the problem and soon I was confidently compering at the freshers’ party and delivering the opening address at a Rotaract event and imitating Inzamam-ul-Haq at a mock press conference while throwing the packed audience into fits of laughter.

It’s not that I stopped stuttering. I just stopped thinking about it and stopped thinking about the derogatory comments by others. Once this burden was gone, I could speak freely.

I have shared this story innumerable times with my students in personality development workshops. We all may have our inhibitions in public speaking due to lack of fluency or due to a speech disorder like mine. Even today, when I have to speak impromptu, I do shiver from within.

However, it’s important to face these fears because as long as we keep hiding from them, we won’t be able to search our true self. I don’t remember when it all started and I don’t even care if it ends in this lifetime or not. I have found my true self.

In the Image:
I, Me and Myself (Shot by - Saurabh Goyal, Location - A beach along East Coast Road, Tamil Nadu)


BK Chowla, said...

May be ,you are not aware, Hritik Roshan had this problem till he entered college.He went through a lot of training before he got over the fear before his first movie.
So, you are on the right track

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Reading this reminds me of a story of a successful businessman who had a similar problem in childhood.
But that was one part of the story which he overcame with belief in what his mother said, His brain works faster than his tongue can speak.

He never low again.

Nice encouraging post.

Blasphemous Aesthete

Vipul Grover said...

Chowlaji, I think I've heard about Hritik. For that matter, Oscar winning movie 'The King's Speech' is based on the same plot. And that's why it's very close to my heart.

BA, tht's indeed is a nice way 2 put it and infact, thts true. Many a times people stutter bcoz they speak too fast. Partially, evn I had the same problm, tht's why i had to work upon speaking slowly.
Thanx for appreciating :)